Inevitably, we all go through periods in our lives where we are simply stretched thin. You know what I’m talking about, you have 50 things that MUST get done this week and you’re only going to get half of them done. Sometimes we do this to ourselves (like a bunch of jerks), but sometimes the universe just has plans for us that we have no control over. I am currently spread pretty thin (mostly by my own doing), and I’m here to offer you some ideas for keeping your sanity intact the next time you find yourself with too much to do and too little time.
First of all, you have to focus on the big picture. Really. Close your eyes and spend a few minutes imagining what it will be like when you are done with all the things that are currently on your plate. Think about all the benefits. Maybe you are remodeling a house and you will have a nicer living space. Maybe you are finishing a degree and you will get a raise/promotion/good job. Maybe you are hosting for the holidays and you will get many wonderful memories. Spend some time thinking concretely about every good thing that will happen because you are spread so thin right now.
Thinking like this helps me put things into perspective. Sure I might be running around like a chicken with my head cut off NOW, but sometime relatively soon I will have a whole host of new wonderful things in my life. Concentrating on those wonderful things makes hectic days seem a lot more manageable.
This is you giving money to your future self.
Financial security ranks in my top three for long-term happiness (the other two are personal relationships and health). Simply put, it’s hard to enjoy life if you are constantly worrying about how to make ends meet.
To that end, this post is about an easy way that you can give your future self a small financial security blanket (see what I did there… SECURITY blanket… like stocks and bonds… I know I’m terrible).
There are a million posts on a million blogs about why you should be saving for retirement. And just FYI, they’re all right. You SHOULD be saving for retirement unless you’re already retired (or have a ton of bad debt).
In this post I’ll point out the hypothetical future gains of maxing out a Roth IRA just once before you turn 30. Since the max annual contribution in 2013 is $5500 if you’re under 50, that’s the number I’ll be using today.
I decided to go with a Roth in this example because it makes the gains simpler to wrap your head around. You don’t have to figure out how much it will be post-tax because it’s already post-tax.
Whew! This month has been a whirlwind. As I mentioned in my last post, this month was very busy for me. The first weekend I went to a wedding (18 hours roundtrip on the road). I’ve known the groom since high school and we were roommates for two years in college. The second weekend me and my fiancee (yep, I’m engaged! A post on this is forthcoming) went to her brother’s graduation (10 hours round trip on the road). The following weekend started our 6 day beach vacation (7 hours one way). After the beach, we went straight to a conference where I was giving a presentation (8 and a half hours one way). Then after a few days, came back home (9 hours one way). So after a month filled with more than 52.5 hours on the road, you may be wondering at the title of this post.
Dolla’ dolla’ billz, y’all
Money issues are the source of a lot of our stress and problems. Especially if you have joint finances with a spouse. Here’s an article from the New York Times with research that suggests what everyone with a brain already knows: finance-related tensions raise the risk of divorce. Here’s one from About.com’s ‘Divorce Support’ section that lists “Economic Tensions” as one of only four valid reasons to divorce your spouse.
But even if you aren’t married and worried about someone else, money is still a big stressor for most of us. In this article I’m going to offer you some good advice that also happens to be common sense. I know that in some circles it’s rude to talk about money, and it can be a touchy subject, but (unless you have oodles and oodles of money) having a financial plan is absolutely required for long-term happiness, so here goes.
This guy has been working too hard
It seems these days that almost everyone is super career-oriented. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Having a good work ethic is an excellent trait, and it’s one that I highly recommend trying to actively cultivate in yourself. But, just like everything else, some people take it too far. Just think of the common storyline, “Mom/Dad is trying hard to get ahead to provide a better life for their kids than they had growing up. But somewhere in the process, they lose sight of what’s really important and don’t spend enough time with their family. Angst and life-lessons ensue.” Sound familiar?